In a nod to the ever-expanding Fintech bandwagon, Italy’s UniCredit is the latest bank to join in, by pledging a €200 million fund that will aid mid-stage startups and established Fintech businesses. The fund is being set up in partnership with London-based venture and advisory firm Anthemis Group.
A new joint investment venture and partnership between prominent European bank UniCredit and Fintech venture and advisory firm Anthemis Group sees the setting up of a new fund. Dubbed UniCredit EVO, the fund will seek to back mid-stage startups and follow-on investments in more mature and established Fintech businesses.
It will also target early stage financial services startups which are, as a press release puts it, “digitally-naïve”, despite working on pioneering solutions.
In statements via a press release, UniCredit COO and deputy general manager Paolo Fiorentino stated:
As a bank, we have the resources, financial expertise and large consumer base that can complement startup innovation. This will inturn boost our digitzation, enabling us to better adapt to the ever-evolving needs of our customers.
To get things started, the fund will see a massive initial capital commitment of €200 million (approx. USD $223 million), further underlining UniCredit’s intentions to engage with the promising emerging startups in the Fintech space to help innovate solutions for its banking technology. The same is said about UniCredit’s partnership with Anthemis, one which the bank sees will help “accelerate the digitization of its banking group.”
Complete Backing of Emerging Fintech Firms
As a joint venture, UniCredit EVO will back and cover the complete lifecycle of emerging Fintech companies. The fund will seek to focus primarily on emerging firms from Europe and North America.
The following excerpt from the press release also reveals the kind of startups that the fund will seek to back:
The initiative will span across the early startup ideas phase to maturity and apply to different fields of retail banking and consumer finance; investment and corporate banking; wealth and asset management; capital markets and trading; payments and financial data; technology and infrastructure.
The investment fund will be directly managed and supervised by two governing bodies. One is an investment committee that comprises of representatives from both UniCredit and Anthemis to target viable investment opportunities. The other, a management board, will also comprise of representatives from both partners to identify the “most relevant areas of focus,” for the fund.
Besides its foray into the Fintech space by directly contributing to an investment fund, UniCredit is one among 42 global banks that are a part of the private blockchain consortium led by New York-based R3. The Italian bank joined the consortium in October 2015, along with Japan’s Mizuho Bank at the time.
UniCredit was also a part of the first known global banking blockchain experiment which was revealed earlier in January 2016. As one of 11 banks that participated in the simulation of exchanging trades and value on a private distributed ledger, the experiment spanned banks across 4 continents altogether, without the need for a third-party settling house.
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